I’ve spent a big chunk of today editing my book. It’s at 271 pages and the publisher needs it to be 256. Moreover, I’m not even done WRITING the book so, this is a tremendous editing effort. Anyhow, the bit about my mom hearing from God through Cybill Shepherd’s TV show is one of my favorite parts. ENJOY.
My mom was coming around too, unbeknownst to me. My sister informed me that my mom picked up a copy of a magazine that spotlighted Boston and she remarked again-and-again how much the city reminded her of me. I laughed – my mom never mentioned this to me, of course, but it was obvious God was leading her heart to be able to bless my move as well.
Father’s Day weekend in June of 2002 was our big step forward. My dad and my sisters were in Mexico on a missions trip so I trekked up to Fresno, a four hour drive, to spend a few days with my mom. It was the last time I would be with her before my departure in August. My mom made a point of emphasizing that. One afternoon we were seated on the balcony drinking tea and she mournfully said, “Well, I guess this is the last time we will be drinking tea on the balcony.” Later while having dinner, she paused, “Well, I guess this is the last time we will be having dinner together.” “Mom, I will be back to visit. We’ll do these things again, just not as often,” I quipped. Regardless, with nearly every activity we did, my mom would tack on the observation, “I guess this is the last time we will be _____________ together.”
At the visit’s end I stood at the white door to my parents’ house, my sandals on the pale green rug, moving toward the door as they had thousands of times before, and my mom hugged me and said, “Well, I guess this is the last time I will be saying goodbye to you.” I smiled. “I’ll call you when I get back home, Mom.” I plopped in my car and in exasperation said, “God, you have got to talk to my mom about this!”
My car sailed out of Fresno, darting past vineyards, orchards, outlet malls, travel centers, big rigs, out through the central valley, over the grapevine into the Los Angeles basin and all the way into my sunny parking place in Orange County. Topography talks. It’s one of the many reasons I love driving. The changes in trees, hills, fields, and even the drop sheet of the mainly blue sky over the scaffolding of earth’s atmosphere, told me parables. I could see transition. I could see hope. I could feel my beloved 1992 Toyota Celica put on his game face to conquer the steep inclines before him. I could see how, in a mere four hours, nearly everything could change.
I called my mom.
“The strangest thing happened after you left,” she said immediately. “What? What happened?” I asked. “Well, I guess I was feeling lonely and I went and sat down in front of the TV.” “What?” I thought, “My mom almost never sits down and watches TV, particularly on her own. That’s strange already!” She went on, “Well, you know that show with Cybill Shepherd? You know, it’s pretty much her show?” “Yeaaaaaah” I said, remembering how very much my mom adored that particular actress. “So, I saw that show and I started to watch it and it was so strange.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “The show, I mean, the storyline of the show: Cybill Shepherd’s character’s daughter and her lived in Southern California, but her daughter was engaged to a man from Boston. So, her daughter wanted to move to Boston, but Cybil really didn’t want her to… then they all had a discussion about it over dinner. They talked about the pros and cons of Boston versus Southern California. By the end of dinner, Cybill Shepherd’s character realized that Boston was the best place for her daughter and she decided to support her move – even though she would be sad she was far away, she knew it was where she was supposed to be.”
My mom’s voice drifted back into her brain, “Isn’t that odd? I mean, because it’s like you and your situation; and you are moving from Southern California to the Boston area.” Dumbfounded, I said, “Yeah, that’s really amazing, Mom.” Coming back out of her brain she added, “It’s like with me, I mean, I think I see now why you need to move to Massachusetts. And you’ll be far away, and that will be sad for me, but I think it is what you are supposed to do and maybe I need to see it more from your perspective and be more supportive of your decision to move.” I was absolutely beside myself in awe. HOW DID GOD DO THAT? How did He put that together so that one of my mom’s favorite actresses was on a show with that plotline? How did He arrange for the timing so that my mom would go through exactly the emotional journey she needed to, at just the right time? HOW DID GOD DO THAT?
I knew one thing, He loved me more than I could ever fathom. And boy was I glad.